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The story of the Dragon, founded on some serpentworship at Babylon, or a tradition of such a cult, of which there is good evidence from inscriptions, tells how Daniel, refusing to bow down, claims that he will destroy the beast, in which the God is supposed to be. He therefore gives it a cake, composed of pitch, fat, and hair, which causes the serpent to burst asunder. As there is a popular outcry, Daniel is thrown into the den of lions, where he remains for seven days. He is miraculously fed by the prophet Habakkuk, who is transported by the hair of his head by the Angel of the Lord from Palestine, as he is on the way to his field taking his reapers their food. This incident seems to be a later excrescence. He is finally released, and his accusers, consigned to' the den by the King, are devoured.

It seems best to regard this as simply a "snake story, without any connection with the mythical "dragon " myth. There is considerable evidence for snake-worship at Babylon. The Greek Spákw is simply "snake," as is plain from Homer.

Bel and the Dragon does not throw much light on Hebrew religion, beyond the belief in a living God, as opposed to idolatry. The Habakkuk incident seems to show the demand for marvel, and descriptions of angelic mediation from those who found the story too tame and colourless.

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Note.-Cf. Daubeny: The Three Additions to Daniel. 1906.


The additions to the Book of Esther are six passages generally known by the first six letters of the alphabet, which were added to the Greek translation of Esther some time after it appeared in 114 B.C. In our A.V. and R.V., placed as they are together as an Appendix, their motif is less intelligible than in the Septuagint, where they are fitted naturally into the narrative. Their relegation to an Appendix was due to Jerome. They are the work of Hellenistic Jews of the same date as the Book of Wisdom, though, unlike Wisdom, their character is that of simple Jewish piety, unmixed with Alexandrian speculation. Their pious tone has suggested to some that they were intended to leaven a canonical book, which may have seemed of too secular a character, a book which does not once mention the name of God.

Their true position and contents are as follows

A. [Before Esther i. 1.] Mordecai dreams of two great dragons, portending war. The righteous cry, and a small spring of water appears and grows into a great river. When he wakes he discovers the plot of two enemies against the King's life, and is promoted in consequence.

B. [Between iii. 13 and iii. 14.] An imaginary copy of the letter of Artaxerxes, mentioned in Esther,


iii. 13.

C. [After iv. 7.] The prayer of Mordecai, and the prayer of Esther : “Put eloquent speech into my

: mouth before the lion . save us by Thy hand, and help me who stand alone, and have none save Thee, O Lord.” D. Follows C.] Describes Esther's appearance

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before the King. She herself was radiant in the perfection of her beauty, and her countenance was happy and lovely : but her heart was stricken with fear.”

E. [Between viii. 12 and viii. 13.] The letter of Artaxerxes annulling his former letter about the Jews.

F. [Concludes the book.] Mordecai's dream is interpreted. He and Haman were the two dragons, and Esther the spring that became a river. The concluding postscript, stating that the translation of Esther was brought to Egypt in the fourth year of Ptolemy and Cleopatra (i.e. 114 B.C.) by "Dositheus, who said he was a priest and a Levite, and Ptolemæus his son,” is generally regarded as authentic, but limited in its reference to the canonical book, not including the Additions.


The Book of Jubilees was written towards the end of the reign of John Hyrcanus, the great Maccabæan high priest and ruler, who inherited from his father Simon, and defended by his energy and tact amid a welter of contending powers around Palestine, the prosperous and independent kingdom that had been won by the indomitable spirit of his family. This would mean that the book appeared some time between 110 B.C. and 105 B.C., the year of John's death, after a reign of twenty-nine years,

During his reign the position of the Jewish parties had become fixed and determined, and the outstanding event of his later years was his passing from the ranks of the Pharisees to those of the Sadducees. The reason given by Josephus for his desertion of the Pharisees was that they had circulated scurrilous stories about his legitimacy.

During his reign, too, there had been a continuous Hellenistic influence upon Jewish thought and life, no longer, of course, pressed by the sword of Seleucid autocracy, but making its way by natural and peaceful penetration.

We now know a great deal more about the standpoint of the two great Jewish parties than we did, and are able to discount some of the statements of Josephus with regard to them. We see better, too, their attitude to the disintegrating forces of Hellenism. We are learning to realize that the Sadducee was not a characteristically worldly, sceptical, or irreligious person, and that the Pharisee, so far from seeking separation from the people, was the offspring of the people and the mouthpiece of their traditions. It was because the Sadducee was loyal to the Law as it stood that in rejecting the popular oral traditions he appeared cold and lacking in fervour. It was because he generally happened to be aristocratic that he came into more sympathetic touch with foreign culture. It was because the Pharisee believed in the inspiration of oral tradition, and the value of comments and Midrash accumulated by the wise, that he spoke more decidedly for Judaism undiluted by Hellenism, although he was no doubt to some extent unconsciously affected by non-Jewish ideas.

The Book of Jubilees is regarded by most scholars as a Pharisaic work, the most triumphant manifesto of legalism." Yet there are some who think that it might have been worked over by a Sadducee, as the Sadducee was as loyal to the written law as the Pharisee.

The writer re-edits Genesis and Exodus from his own point of view. His object is to throw back the legal enactments of his religion into the earliest age, and to prove them to be bound up with the earliest revelation, unalterable, eternal. Thus the Jewish Feasts are observed by the Patriarchs, the angels submit to the rite of circumcision, and death is laid down as the universal penalty of breaking the Sabbath, The obligations of the Law are as real for heaven as earth; they are the special glory and crown of the Jew. Therefore they must have been made binding on the earliest ancestors of the Jewish race. And the lives of the Patriarchs under the guidance of the Law have to be purified as far as possible from offensive elements; thus Jacob is cleared from verbal falsehood by equivocation when he answers, “ I am thy son," to Jacob's question, “ Art thou my very son Esau ?

All this is anti-Hellenistic; it buttresses the exclusive spirit of the Jewish race; it paints them as from the beginning admitted to the knowledge of


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